Best Mexican North of the Border

Savor some of the spiciest and most flavorful Mexican cuisine in hidden nooks and
crannies of Los Angeles and you’ll be richly rewarded. Serving up some of the finest and
award-winning tacos, burritos and enchiladas, the best Mexican restaurants can be found
in unassuming taco stands or the most elegant of fancy establishments. Eager for quick
bite but unwilling to compromise in taste? Hurry on over to popular tacquerias like the
USC student-ridden La Taquiza, hipster heaven Yuca’s, or Third Street Farmer’s Market
Loteria Grill to indulge your taco tastebuds. Thirsty for an innovative, yet fulfilling
margarita to accompany your Mexican food needs? Check out the hopping Happy Hour
specials at excellent restaurants like Eagle Rock’s CaCao Mexicatessan and Yxta Cocina
Mexicana. Mariachi enthusiasts rejoice! You can enjoy Guelaguetza’s Oaxacan meal
while serenaded by renowned band Mariachi Mexicanissimo on Friday nights. Placate
the pescatarians by ordering the fresh seafood specials at Ensenada Restaurant and La
Serenata. From tacquitos to tequila, allow the Mexican restaurants to tantalize you with
special sauces, superior service, and signature margaritas. Let the fiesta begin!

10 Loteria Grill Hollywood
Mexican fast food at its finest, Loteria serves up authentic Mexican cuisine at a tiny stall in the packed Third Street Farmer's Market. See the staff hard at work through the open kitchen windows, rolling away tortillas and piling on veggies and sauces to tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. Pair the spicy Hueveos Rancheros with cinnamon-tinged coffee for a hearty breakfast with a kick. Feeling indecisive? Share the Probaditas Taco Sampler to taste all 12 of the signature tacos. Top off your flavorful meal right with a sweet Flan de Cajeta dessert, perfectly lactose-friendly goat's milk caramel flan. (3234652500)

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9 Ensenada Restaurant
This family-owned seafood and Mexican cuisine paradise has been serving Downtown LA since 1987. The attentive staff starts you off right with warm bottomless chips and salsa and complimentary beans with cheese and noodle soup. Then experience any of the delicious entrees, favorites being the fish burritos or chicken enchiladas. Check out Ensenada's website to print out the coupon for one free scrumptious flan or creamy cheesecake offer, dine-in only. ((213) 489-2950)

8 La Serenata de Garibaldi — Santa Monica
Owner Jose Rodriguez has been called the "Maestro of Sauces," especially for signature seafood dishes, boasting over 30 sauces in his repertory. Travel to the original Boyle Heights location for an unforgettable Mexican meal served in a quaint, elegantly decorated atmosphere. Daily fresh seafood specials include mahi mahi, salmon and shrimp dishes. For excellent service and divine preparation to details, La Serenata is the place for traditional Mexican seafood with an innovative bent. (310-656-7017)

7 Yuca's
Winner of the "Taco Madness 2009" competition, Yuca's opened almost 35 years ago to become a legendary LA institution. This taco shack deals with the essentials in Mexican cuisine and strives for authenticity and quality. Swim through the ocean of hipsters delving into their study abroad Spanish skills to sample the best carne asada tacos and burritos in East LA. If you prefer a little spiked beverage with your meal, pop into the liquor store next door. ((323) 662-1214)

6 Alegria on Sunset
Located on Sunset Boulevard in a strip mall housing Baskin Robbins, Subway, and Domino's, this unassuming Mexican gem rises above the rest in its devotion to authentic cuisine. An impressive selection of teas (opt for the cinnamon) and aguas, give the new basil mint lemonade a shot and you won't be disappointed. Alegria recently started to accept credit cards, although they no longer allow BYOB. Check it off on your list for clean and excellent Mexican food without the grease. ((323) 913-1422)

5 La Taquiza
Battle the hordes of USC students to sample the food from this tacqueria, which claims to have sold "over 5 ZILLION tacos." Hyperboles aside, check out the over-flowing combination plates, mouthwatering mulitas (a hybrid of the taco and quesadilla), and refreshing horchatas or aguas. With contemporary updates to favorite dishes, try the Al Pastor on the spit sliced to order or the Korean beef short rib tacos. ((213) 741-9795)

4 Guelaguetza
Featured on the cover of the food section of the LA Times in August 2010, Bricia Lopez and her son are reinvigorating the family business with a dose of youthful creativity to popular authentic Mexican dishes. Sample the traditional Oaxaca entrees like the Chiles Rellenos with juicy chicken or the Costilla de Puerco Enchilada, pork ribs drenched in a spicy sauce. Plan for a Friday night fiesta at the Plaza Mexico restaurant, complete with live entertainment starring the Mariachi Mexicanissimo, a crowd-pleasing Mariachi band with an impressive repertoire of delightful songs. (213-427-0608)

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3 La Casita Mexicana
Chef Jaime and Ramiro's goal "to change the negative connotations of Mexican food with authentic and traditional Mexican cuisine" shines in its execution. Make the trek out to Bell and start your meal off right with complimentary fresh tortilla chips and 3 varieties of homemade mole sauce. Don't leave without trying their Churros Con Cajeta (caramel-stuffed churros) featured on Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" segment. ((323) 773-1898)

2 Yxta Cocina Mexicana
Located in Downtown LA, Yxta (pronounced eeks'-tah) serves authentic Mexican food like fresh guacomole and homemade tortillas while also offering modern updates to the classic dishes like tasty shrimp tacquitos and ahi tuna tostadas. Stop by for the popular Happy Hour to sample a mind-boggling array of silver, reposado or anejo tequilas and sip on creative cocktails and delicious $6 appetizers. Save room for Chef Blanca's seasonal flan and capirotada (Mexican bread pudding fantastico). ((213) 622-5540)

1 CaCao Mexicatessen
Venture out to Eagle Rock and chow on the award-winning duck carnitas, voted one of the "10 Best Dishes of 2010" in LA Weekly. The Week magazine calls CaCao's grub "Mexican food at its finest." This contemporary version of the traditional Mexican deli specializes in flavorful tacos and fresh burritos, with an emphasis on Mexico's greatest export, chocolate. Check out the wallet-friendly Happy Hour menu, Tuesdays through Fridays from 3pm-5:30pm for CaCao specialties offered under $5. (323-478-2791)

Living in the land of perpetual sun, beautiful beaches, and gorgeous people has fueled Sujata Day’s creativity in myriad ways. Her short story “Forbidden Fate” won the WRITE STUFF competition sponsored by MTV and People magazine, birthing a prosperous writing career. The tale was published in a collection of short stories titled Pieces, edited by Stephen Chbosky. Reviews hail Pieces as “an exciting glimpse into the future of fiction” and “endearingly raw, undeniably bold, and engagingly inventive.” Since moving to LA from the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA, Sujata has appeared in many TV shows, films, and internet productions. TV credits include Desperate Housewives, Secret Life of the American Teenager, Campus Ladies, Greek, and The Loop. She plays a supporting role in 2009’s Down For Life, alongside Danny Glover and Snoop Dogg. Sujata produced, wrote, and starred in the web pilot Raveena and the Vampire chosen to launch as a 2010 premiere vehicle on the popular internet channel, Somebody’s Basement. Currently, she stars as ‘CeCe’ in the hit web series, Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. Sujata can be seen next starring in the film, Big Breakin', to be released in early 2012.

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Maps and Directions

Loteria Grill Hollywood 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Counter Seating, Delivery, Parties / Private Rooms, Smoking (outdoor area), Take Out
Cuisine: Mexican
Neighborhood: Hollywood
COST: $$$
Ensenada Restaurant 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
La Serenata de Garibaldi — Santa Monica 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Parties / Private Rooms
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
COST: $$
Yuca's 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
Alegria on Sunset 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
La Taquiza 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
Guelaguetza 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Catering, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Live Music, Non-Smoking
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
La Casita Mexicana 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
CaCao Mexicatessen 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Catering, Take Out
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
Neighborhood: EAGLE ROCK